Monday, February 25, 2013

UN concerned about "emergency situation in Iraq"

As noted Friday, over three million Iraqis particpated in the demonstrations.  Each Friday, the number participating gets larger.  Friday brought the percentage participating to over 10% of the country.  The BRussells Tribunal and Iraqi Spring Media Center offer two photo essays -- here and here -- on Fridays' demonstrations.

December 20th, Nouri al-Maliki's created a new crisis -- he sent forces into the Green Zone in Baghdad to round up 150 people working for the Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi and ten of them were charged with 'terrorism' while the others were 'questioned' (tortured).  The arrests led to protests in Falluja, Tikrit, Samarra, Ramadi and just outside of Falluja on Friday, December 21st.  It also led to condemnation from Moqtada al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc and from Iraqiya (which came in first in the 2010 parliamentary elections).  The arrest was the last straw in a series of offenses Nouri has committed. National Iraq News Agency reports that the UN  Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler met with the Iraqi Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi yesterday to discuss, al-Issawi states, "the demands of the demonstrators and the importance of meeting them by the government because they are legitimate and constitutional demands."  Yesterday, Alsumaria notes that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met with the UN Special Envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler today to discuss the crack down on the protesters and the harassment.  Anadoln Agency adds, "In a written statement on Sunday, Kobler noted that his meeting with al-Nujaifi covered the issues of human rights and the emergency situation in Iraq."

As stated a little earlier, the round-up of al-Issawi workers was among the last straws.  It was not the only event behind the protests.  Weeks before that round-up took place, the Iraqi media was full of reports about what was happening to women in Iraqi prisons and detention centers. 

Bie Kentane (BRussells Tribunal) observes, "Women prisoners have been subjected to torture by electrocution, beatings, and rape by the investigators during interrogation.  Often they were arrested instead of their husbands.  Some of the women have no idea why they were arrested and imprisoned for many years.  Some of the inmates' children were born in prisons.  Have a look at these revealing videos.  This horrendous situation has been created by the US occupation and is continuing under Maliki's puppet government."  They note the 2008 report by CBS News.

 All that's changed since then is that Nouri's run Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi out of the country.

Violence continues today.   Alsumaria reports that a Mosul suicide car bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left five more injured2 Mosul roadside bombings left six Iraqi soldiers injured, and a Baghdad sticky bombing has left 2 people injuredAll Iraq News notes that the sticky bombing targeted "a key official within the Political Prisoners Establishment" and, though she wasn't injured, they put the number injured at three. In addition, All Iraq News notes a Mosul sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Sequestration" went up last night.  On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include a new book entitled Priests of Our Democracy, The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom and the Anti-Communist Purge with author Marjorie Heins (the book focuses on the academic freedom fight in NYC colleges at the middle of the 20th century) and then they re-air the interview with Barbara Blaine about abuse by priests -- attorney Pam Sprees is part of the interview as well.  The priest segment first aired in March of 2012, if I remember correctly.

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